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Type of Item
Entertainments for Twelve Months
This colored, hand-drawn picture scroll presents annual events and seasonal plays in Kyoto, month by month. This particular drawing depicts children holding brooms and playing a ballgame called gicchō on a street in Kyoto. The style of the calligraphy and brushwork suggest that the scroll was made early in the Edo period (1600-1867). The Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Ireland, has the same type of picture scroll.
Kinko and Echizen
The term ukiyo-e, literally “pictures of the floating world,” refers to a genre of Japanese artwork that flourished in the Edo period (1600–1868). As the phrase “floating world” suggests, with its roots in the ephemeral worldview of Buddhism, ukiyo-e captured the fleeting dynamics of contemporary urban life. While being accessible and catering to “common” tastes, the artistic and technical details of these prints show remarkable sophistication, their subjects ranging from portraits of courtesans and actors to classical literature. Black-and-white compositions like this one are known as sumizuri-e because they ...
Pictorial Map of the Tōkaidō Highroad
This pictorial map depicts the Tōkaidō Highroad which ran between the cities of Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto. The original Tōkaidō Bunken Ezu (Scale map of the Tōkaidō) was drawn by woodblock artist Hishikawa Moronobu (circa 1618–94) in 1690, based on a survey of the road made in 1651. Various iterations of this map have circulated, including black and white prints and large scrolls meant to be spread out on a desk for armchair traveling. This version is painted with ink and watercolor on two smaller scrolls, suggesting it was ...